- pick
The goal of the projection draft is to predict which soon to be NBA players will have the most successful careers. Anyone who has followed the draft knows that there will inevitably be “busts” in the lottery and “Steals” in the late first and second round. I have attempted to prepare a list of players to watch.

2 key things to remember:

  • This is not a mock draft; I do not care where a player is drafted. The fact that the Bulls will probably select Derek Rose with the first pick in the draft does not impact his rank on the Projection list.
  • The accuracy of this list will not be clear until AT LEAST 3 years from when it is published.

 Lets get started!!!

1. Michael Beasley –When I initially considered Beasley’s future, images of Glenn “Big Dog” Robinson and Derek “Big Mac” Colman flashed through my mind. But Beasley is a much more gifted rebounder then big dog ever was (12.6 reb/gm his freshman year!) and he clearly doesn’t eat at McDonalds with the regularity that Big Mac did. (Beasley looks like he lives in the gym!) MB is an undersized, freakishly athletic power forward with an unusual personality (He is 19 and he, GULP, wants to have fun??? WEIRD). He actually reminds me a lot of Charles Barkley! As hard as I try to remind myself that Sir Charles was special and no one should be “the next” round mound, I can not get the comparison out of my head. Barkley had maturity problems early in his career just like Beasley will inevitably have, and Barkley went on to become one of the best players ever. If Beasley truly wants to, he can do the same. Bill Simmons brings up a great point in his column when he says that he doesn’t trust guys who don’t try all the time in college, because a guaranteed contract usually does not change that. In most cases I completely agree with BS’s point however, in Beasley’s case I would argue that he did not always “try his hardest” because he never felt like he had to. No one has ever pushed him. That will change and we will see a motivated Michael Beasley 100% of the time starting next season.  


2. Derek Rose – I first watched DR play when he was in High School, against O.J Mayo. What stood out immediately me was his poise. Rose reminds me a little of Brandon Roy because he is never in a rush and always plays at his own pace. He displayed strong leadership skills at Memphis and should develop into a GREAT pro. I have heard a lot of people compare him to Jason Kidd, but I think he is a far more gifted scorer then Kidd. I would like to see him develop a back to the basket game and become a superior defender al a Gary Payton.

Note to Bulls ownership: Make DAMN sure Rose stays away from anything with 2 wheels. This includes, but is not limited to: motorcycles, dirt bikes, scooters (motorized and non-motorized), bicycles (street and mountain), Segways and heelys. I am just saying, fool me once (Jay Williams) shame on you, fool me twice shame on me!


3. O.J. Mayo –  OJ works hard and plays GREAT defense. He can dribble, pass and shoot.  However; he is NOT a PG. In the right situation Mayo will become a fan favorite and a perennial all star in the Scottie Pippen (not Michael Jordon) mold. But readers beware!!! In the wrong situation he could try to do too much and end up being the next Vince Carter.

Question : How long before Mayo stars in a commercial that features Darvin Ham, Cedric “Corn Bread” Maxwell and Boston radio personality Craig Mustard? After all Mayo went to USC so you know he will do anything if the price is right!


4. Bill Walker  – THIS IS NOT MY ATTEMPT AT BEING CONTRAVERCIAL. Bill Walker plays hard and loves the game. If not for a serious knee injury he would have been a top 10 pick this year! When the Kansas St. season ended he was projected as a mid second rounder. As the pre-draft process has progressed his stock has risen; which tells me that his knee is fine. A late first round draft position will motivate him to prove the experts wrong and allow him to go to a veteran laden team that will help him develop. As hard as it would be for him to admit, I feel like this injury is a blessing in disguise as it has forced B dub to learn how to play on the ground and develop his skills instead of just jumping over everybody that tried to guard him. However, when his lift returns, WATCH OUT! This will be the steal of the draft.

NBA comparison : A more athletic Paul Pierce


5. Jarryd Bayless – Bayless will one day win an NBA 6 th man of the year award. He was not advertised as a “big 4” freshman (Beasley, Mayo, Gordon, Rose) but quickly proved to be as good as any in the group. Weather JB is a shoot-first point guard, or an undersized shooting guard does not matter. The kid is a ball player and if (I apologize in advance for the cliché analogy) I were going to war I would want him on my team. The only real question I have with Bayless has to do with his maturity. After all, not only is he 19 years old, but he spells Jared with a ‘Y’. By the way, I can not think of anyone who more desperately needs a nickname. How about Y fi? Because of both his name and lightening quick first step. (Other Ideas?)

NBA comparison : A more talented Delonte West


6. Courtney Lee – Lee is a guy who has been an underdog all his life, and appears to relish the challenge that comes with that. (He played for western Kentucky!)  He has the size, strength and athletic ability to become a premier defender in the NBA for years to come; when I watch him play I see a young James Posey or Shane Battier type. (This is extremely high praise coming from a Celtic fan!) The two things I can say for certain about Courtney Lee are that A) he will be a key part of a championship team sooner rather then later, and B) he will be on the list of athletes whose names make them sound like hot girls! (If you were ever asked if you wanted to meet to some chick named Courtney Lee you would say yes in a heart beat!)

Predicted career averages: 11.5 PPG, 4.5 RPG, 2.5 APG, 1.3 Steals, 3pt%: 43%


7. Kevin Love – I would love to see the hype that Love would be receiving if he were 7 feet tall instead of 6 foot 10. (A difference of |---------------------------------------------| that much.) Who was the last big guy that had guard skills, knew how to carve out position for himself on the glass, could legitimately be considered clutch and was tough as nails? Unfortunately Love is not a 7 ft center. He is a power forward, and unfairly when we think of great power forwards we think of dominant physical specimens like Shawn Kemp (before he discovered the Chocó-Taco), Karl Malone and Tim Duncan. Kevin Love is not that type of player. His major advantages are his heart, toughness and skill; not his leaping ability. While many of you might be thinking, “wow you just described Brian Scalabrine”, it is important to remember that Love is a vastly under-rated athlete in his own right. Admittedly, he will have problems with the Joey Dorsey types of the NBA and that will keep him from being a GREAT player, however he will be a very good player and eventually a “quality veteran guy” in the PJ Brown mold. He will always do the little things to help a team win and he will inevitably become one of Tommy Heinson’s favorite players. That counts for something here! (I miss Tommy’s insight at Celtic games already)


8.Danilo Gallinari – The more I hear about this guy, the more I think he is an Italian Antoine Walker; An extremely skilled big guy who can handle the ball and shoot the outside shot. He is a below average rebounder (because he spends his time away from the basket) and he is a defensive liability. He does seek out contact and does go to the free throw line a lot! This however is likely to change for 2 reasons:   1. He is European, and they have a bit of a reputation as being soft. 2. He hasn’t played against the Kendrick Perkins’ of the world. It is one thing to get hit by Mark Gasol. It is another to get hit by Emeka Okafor,  Amare Staudamire or Ben Wallace 2  to 4 nights a week!  

Note : I would like to apologize for breaking the unwritten rule of not comparing white players to black players. I’m sorry, it won’t happen again.



9. Brandon Rush – Brandon Rush reminds me of vanilla ice cream; he is plain but consistent. This guy never takes a bad shot, plays good defense, runs the floor well, and has good range. He is destined to develop into a solid role player and like vanilla ice cream will always be his coaches fourth or fifth option. If he can one day sprinkle some nuts into his game (and take a leadership role) he might even be better then that.

Projected Stats : 10.2 PPG, 3.1 RPG, 2.4 APG, .7 SPG 



10. Robin Lopez – This is not a typo; I did not mean Brook Lopez. Robin will make his money on the defensive end of the court. He needs to work on his touch around the basket, but his heart is there. He is a true shot blocking CENTER who has the potential to anchor an extremely strong defensive unit. Lopez must prove he can hold his own on the boards and I feel like he will. As a Celtic fan I would LOVE to have this guy on my team. Also if anyone else compares him to Anderson Verajao I think I am going to throw up. AV is the most over-paid player in the NBA this side of Brian Cardinal and I do not know how Danny Ferry sleeps at night after signing him. (I strongly suspect the exchange of revealing pictures was involved)



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